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Mecklenburg commissioners to vote today on budget, tax hike

Mecklenburg County commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday night on whether to raise the property tax rate in the coming fiscal year.

In a straw poll last week, a majority of the board voted to increase the rate by 2.35 cents per $100 property valuation in fiscal year 2013-14, which begins July 1.

That increase would add about $47 annually, or nearly $4 a month, to the tax bill for someone with a home valued at $200,000. It would be the first property tax rate increase for the county in five years. The overall budget is for $1.6 billion.

Commissioners’ business meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the meeting chambers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on East Fourth Street.

Interim County Manager Bobbie Shields had proposed a 2.5-cent tax increase, but that was whittled down by commissioners during a work session last week.

County Commissioner Bill James, who was unsuccessful in getting $4 million trimmed from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budget during last week’s work session, has proposed in recent days that commissioners postpone Tuesday night’s vote. Instead, he says, commissioners should find a way to maintain the current tax rate.

James has proposed lopping $7 million off the CMS budget and saving another $4.8 million by eliminating pay raises for county employees.

The county tax rate increase would come on top of a 2.5-cent increase approved by Charlotte City Council last week.

The Town of Matthews also is considering a 2-cent property tax hike. Mecklenburg County’s other towns either have voted to maintain current tax rates or plan to do so.

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